NFL Rumors: Latest Pre-Playoff Buzz Surrounding 2016 Coaching Vacancies

Mike NorrisFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2016

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 30: Coach Jon Gruden of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers directs play against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium on November 30, 2008 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

As eight teams gear up for Wild Card Weekend, another seven are still searching for head coaches.

The head-coaching carousel is in full motion as former head coaches and current coordinators are interviewing for multiple positions with the rumor mill in full force.

One name that has circulated this time of year ever since he was fired in 2008, is former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders head coach, Jon Gruden.

Let's take a look at a possible landing spot for the current ESPN Monday Night Football analyst, as well as a few more rumors involving head-coaching vacancies.


Gruden May be Interested in Philadelphia

Gruden's name is tied to teams every year, despite the fact he denies it and still has not accepted a position since leaving the game. He went 95-81 in 11 years in the NFL and led the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl title in his first year with the team in 2002.

He is widely respected throughout the game as one of the better analysts on television, and certainly there are multiple teams interested in his services.

However, Paul Domowitch of the Philadelphia Daily-News reported that the Philadelphia Eagles actually interest Gruden:

Gruden is doing his biennial return-to-coaching tire-kicking. Whether he's serious this time or just needs his ego massaged still is unclear.

But a league source told the Daily News that he has informed Lurie, through an intermediary, that he is interested in the Eagles' head-coaching job.

Domowitch also said Eagles owner Jeff Lurie respects the former Philadelphia offensive coordinator, but he has reservations Gruden can "play nice with [vice president of football operations Howie] Roseman, who has returned to a seat of personnel power now that [former head coach] Chip Kelly is gone."

Tampa Bay With and Without Jon Gruden
YearsRecord.PCTPlayoff RecordSuper Bowl Wins
2002-2008 (with Gruden)57-55.5093-21

Despite that, Howard Eskin of Philadelphia's FOX 29 said Gruden told him he is not interested in the job.

This is pretty much how it goes every year with Gruden. Everyone feels like it's time for him to get back into the game until all the coaching vacancies are filled.

Or, or course, until he finally says "yes" again.


Tampa Bay May be Looking Within Division for Next Coach

The Buccaneers fired head coach Lovie Smith after just two years and eight wins, which made current offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter the top candidate for the job, per Mike DiRocco of

However, another interesting candidate has emerged in Sean McDermott, the defensive coordinator for the NFC South division rival Carolina Panthers, per Peter Schrager of

Schrager wrote that hiring McDermott would be intriguing considering Tampa and Carolina will play each other twice per season.

The 41-year-old McDermott is coming off a stellar season that saw the Panthers claim the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a 15-1 record and allow the sixth-fewest points in the NFL. Even more impressive, Carolina was first or tied for interceptions, fumble recoveries and turnover margin.

Schrager pointed a past relationship with Tampa general manager Jason Licht could give him an advantage, although McDermott also has been linked to the Cleveland Browns' opening, per Mike Persinger of the Charlotte Observer.


McDaniels Not Interviewing Until Patriots are Done Playing

Despite interest in the Tennessee Titans' open head-coaching position, New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will not interview for any vacancies this weekend.'s Ian Rapoport said even though McDaniels is drawing "plenty of interest" he will remain focused on New England's divisional-round game next weekend.

McDaniels is a highly-respected offensive coordinator, but his previous stint as a head coach with the Denver Broncos did not go well. He was fired 12 games into his second season after a record of 11-17. 

Josh McDaniels Head Coaching Record

He was just 34 when he helped engineer a trade for the 25th pick in the first round so Denver could select Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow—who was projected to be drafted much later.

The experiment, as everyone knows, did not go well and McDaniels later admitted he made a "mistake." He spent one year with the St. Louis Rams before reuniting with Bill Belichick in New England. He has been running one of the best offenses in the NFL the past four years, although it helps when Tom Brady is your quarterback.

Unlike in college football when coaches can't seem to jump ship quick enough—even before bowl games—McDaniels seem to be at ease focusing on his current job.

It might cost him a head-coaching position this year, but it also could very well get him another Super Bowl ring.